|Matt.6:24||No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON.|
It is plainly evident that Modern Christendom has abandoned 'Christianity according to the Bible': in that "Religious notions" are no longer allowed to interfere with so-called "practical wisdom" about our finances. The clear and totally unambiguous command of Our Lord Jesus Christ, that we lay not up for ourselves treasures upon earth (Matt.6:19), has become, in these last days (James 5:3), totally MEANINGLESS for any practical purpose. Should anyone actually dare to speak or act in such a way as to take no thought for the morrow (Matt.6:34), he is labeled as "irresponsible", regarded as "unreliable", and DISMISSED AS A FOOL.
In these last days, the teachings and commands of Our Lord Jesus Christ about how our needs should be met, have now been reduced to nothing more than sentimental consolations for the poor, and emotional tranquilizers for the insecure. There is NEVER communicated from the pulpits of Apostate Christendom ANY idea that there is ANYTHING to OBEY in the commands of Our Lord Jesus Christ, when it comes to OUR MONEY; except it be, Give, and it shall be given unto you (Luke 6:38): in which case, "giving" is only seen as means to "getting". When was the last time you were reminded to, Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again? (Luke 6:30)
The Bible also says, "The love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Tim.6:10). But now, even this famous epitaph on greed can be found in the mouth of the rich man who has devoted his entire life to the service of mammon; for by quoting this phrase they hope to be justified; when in fact, all they are doing is mocking the poor, and admitting their own guilt! And, since most people now think that this phrase only condemns, "Anyone who demands more than I get"; it has also become THE WHIP OF JEALOUSY: used by covetous and envious people to denounce anyone who is more successful or ambitious than they themselves are. THUS, you may visualize the human race: all standing in line to get their share of "the good life": with the very poor at the rear, and the very wealthy at the front; each man beating at the man in front of him WITH THE SAME WHIP.
|Matt.6:33||But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.|
And here, is another popular 'one liner' that is often quoted, but rarely with any sincerity; for if it is not understood how seeking first the kingdom of God means anything other than GET A JOB and live within your means....BUT DON'T FORGET TO ATTEND CHURCH, too: this also, becomes, ABSOLUTELY MEANINGLESS.
Jesus also said,
|Matt.6:26||Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?|
AND HERE, Our Lord Jesus plainly says that "our living" is not dependant on "our working", and that "our future" is not dependent on "our savings". BUT...anyone who refuses to labour for the meat which perisheth (John 6:27), and DENIES any need to take thought for tomorrow; while insisting that the words of Christ GUARANTEE that every need WILL BE MET; will be accused of using religion as a cloak for their selfishness, pride, and laziness.
Many of us have even watched others who CONTINUED TO ASSERT that God would supply all their need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus, until THEY were so sunken into ruin and poverty that they "gave up", and yielded to all the "normal" requirements for economic survival (Philippians 4:19). These examples seem to furnish the proof that WE had better not try anything like that! NO! we dare not even inquire into WHY these others failed to receive the promise, lest we be tempted by what we learn to try that SAME "path of faith" for ourselves: for we fear that we will end up in the same fix they did; in spite of our additional carefulness.
IN THE END, the only real use that most people now have for the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ about HOW our material needs should be met, is to use them as a sort of `cooling sponge' to be laid upon the feverish brow of exhausted desperation. We hope these reassurances of scripture will revive the sagging spirits of those who are tired, broke, and defeated: but ONLY so they may regain some courage to go out and "try harder", AGAIN. If, in our view, they fail to make "sufficient effort", we withhold even the reassurances, and warn them about the SIN OF SLOTH. It takes a LOT OF WORK to keep the groceries on every table, and we're watching carefully to make sure that EVERYONE ELSE is `doing their share', or at least `trying their best'. YET SOMEHOW, all this carefulness to see whether or not the other guy is doing "his fair share" of the world's work IS UTTERLY FORGOTTEN whenever we encounter THE RICH. What this proves, is that what we are REALLY worried about, is that the poor man may require something FROM US.
I fail to find any unqualified proclamation of the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ about OUR MONEY and OUR NEEDS in Modern Christendom. Actually, I fail to find ANY unqualified proclamation of the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ on ANY subject whenever those teachings will conflict with CONVENTIONAL WISDOM, the FINDINGS OF SCIENCE, or with the "unwritten rules" of SOCIAL AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS. The lifestyles of most professing Christians are now barely distinguishable from "respectable heathenism".
Don't think for a minute that I intend to resolve the BIG MYSTERY of the teachings of Our Lord about YOUR MONEY for you, for THERE IS NO MYSTERY; and if you require of ME that I do this, then you are avoiding the point! The agony of insecurity is the sign of bad faith, or no faith. You either believe, obey, and receive; or you doubt, despise, and do without: and the Bible says the same things to all of us. We all have the same needs; we all face the same threats and fears, and we all read the same Bible! No one was ever confused about the meaning of "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth", or, "Take no thought for the morrow", or "Labour not for the meat which perisheth" the FIRST TIME they read these things. The confusion we have in these matters is always invented on the spot, when the need to escape social or economic pressures becomes greater than the need to vindicate our faith. What I am going to do, is provide you with an exposition on Matthew 6:24, which is quoted at the beginning of this article. Perhaps you will find something there to help you. I certainly believe there is something there to help me. To hope, to think, and to assert that something is "SO" according to your faith; but then CHOOSE to live as if it ISN'T SO, because of what you call "reality", is to live in HYPOCRISY.
|Matt.6:24||No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one (God), and love the other (mammon); or else he will hold to the one (God), and despise the other (mammon). YE CANNOT SERVE both GOD AND MAMMON at the same time.|
In Modern Apostate Christendom, this statement by Our Lord Jesus Christ has become useless and meaningless for any practical purpose; there being no way to make it conform to the social and economic expediencies of these times. This just might be almost, slightly, forgivable: because no one seems to know what mammon is, or what to serve means. You may have read this verse in one of those "new and improved" translations, and seen the word mammon replaced by the word MONEY: but this is an interpretation, not a translation. MONEY has it's own word in the Greek, and is used elsewhere. Mammon is an Aramaic word which means, "That which is kept safe, or secured". This word mammon came to be used as another name for money because of the common belief that MONEY PROVIDES SECURITY. Actually, mammon doesn't have to be money at all, to be mammon. Family connections, or property, or a career, or anything which guarantees and secures an income, can be mammon. In ancient Israel, the word mammon was the DIRECT EQUIVALENT to what we now call "SAVINGS". A man's mammon was his BANK ACCOUNT, his "safety net" against that unforeseen "rainy day" that so many spend their entire lives trying to be prepared for. When a Jew of ancient Palestine referred to his "mammon", he was talking about THE THING THAT GUARANTEED HIS FINANCIAL SECURITY. Mammon is not the money itself, but is whatever guarantees the power to obtain all the things that money can buy.
You need MONEY to pay the rent, and the gas bill. MONEY (lots of it) buys medical care. MONEY brings friends (not real friends, of course). MONEY can bail you out, and may keep you out of jail, EVEN WHEN YOU ARE GUILTY. MONEY pays for evangelism, and rescues the needy. MONEY can gain you the respect and attention of people who would otherwise ignore you completely. MONEY may keep a troubled marriage together, until the MONEY runs out. Money is a defense, and Money answereth all things (Eccl.7:12, 10:19). I am not the least bit confused about what we need MONEY for! MONEY is dangerous, for men will kill you for it. MONEY is power, for men will defer to you because you have it. MONEY is regarded as a symbol of righteousness: we generally believe that those who have it, have 'done something right'; even though Jesus said, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. And His disciples were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? (Mark 10:25-26). And we can see that even Christ's own disciples were convinced that prosperity was a sign of righteousness! It is no wonder, then, that we often evaluate a man's worth, and even his spiritual state, by how much MONEY he gets to spend. Any man, who embarks on a 'faith venture', but then begins to run out of money as a result of it, will likely be judged by others (and even by himself) as having misapprehended the will of God (see 1 Cor.4:11). If this "faith venture" brings any financial inconvenience or embarrassment into the lives of his friends or family, it will then become almost a foregone conclusion that God did not approve: for almost everyone around you automatically supposes that GAIN IS a sign of godliness (1 Tim.6:5). And who does not know that we are all prone to think like this?
And what can we say to these things? We all wish that we had more money; and when it comes, we rarely ask ourselves whether it came from God, or the Devil. MONEY is like a drug, for those who have plenty tend to forget that they may die today, or be stricken by illness or some other tragedy that MONEY will not prevent. MONEY is a peacemaker, for there are always arguments where there isn't enough to go around. MONEY has a terrible and unrighteous authority in THIS world: granting equal power and dignity to WHOEVER has it, no matter how they got it, or how they spend it.
|Prov.18:23||The poor useth entreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.|
Yes, the poor man must be polite, and go groveling in the hope that someone will give him the money; while the rich man gets away with arrogance because he already has the money.
Sickening isn't it? But we both know that's how it is in this present evil world. Both the poor man and the rich man ARE who they ARE and act like they do because OF THE MONEY.
Yes indeed.....I know what it feels like to be judged by others, and even by myself, as having NO MORAL AND SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY; because I have less money than the people I dare to preach to. But the Bible says that if you evaluate a man's worth by his wealth, ye have despised the poor (James 2:6), and are become judges of evil thoughts (James 2:6). And in the end, it rarely matters to most men how hard you have worked and how sincere you are, if you don't get enough money to "keep up appearances". So, even when you work your fingers to the bone and try with all your might, but your efforts do not bring enough money: you will be regarded by most people as being morally or mentally deficient. If then, you attempt to justify yourself by pointing out that we are commanded to be content, as long as we still have food and clothing (1 Tim.6:8), you will be regarded as an idiot: for in these last days, it is presumed that gain IS Godliness (1 Tim.6:5). We all like to say, "Money doesn't buy happiness": but this is only easy to say when you have all you need; and whenever religious people become destitute (Heb.11:37), they are strongly tempted to believe that God has denounced their ambitions and repudiated their faith.
And I, who am writing this, am no different. I have spent the past several years struggling to be faithful to my calling under relentless financial pressures, which have often driven me to despair, and to doubt that God approves of my labors. I am continually tempted to change my course AND MY FAITH, suspecting, that if I do so, I can GET THAT MONEY. This is me. This is, my life. I do not know all the answers: but I do know that Christ said, Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you (John 6:27). The teachings of Jesus Christ about how His disciples should 'get by', are so totally foreign to the way we feel forced to live, that we are tempted to resign ourselves to the idea that we simply cannot, and therefore will not, live the way Jesus has described. BUT, giving up hope in Christ's promise that if you seek first the kingdom of God, all these things shall be added unto you; leaves you fully engaged, day and night, with trying to figure out how to get enough money; by working for it, or by stealing it. It's not hard to figure out WHY the teachings of Jesus about MONEY, are either ignored or explained away, by those for whom the pursuit of financial security is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.
Never does the Bible ever mention such a thing as worshipping money: as if to suggest that there are men somewhere who are kneeling in front of and praying to a dollar bill. The pulpiteers of Apostate Christendom are sure to remind you that you "better not worship money"; but you know that what they really mean is that you better share some of that money WITH THEM. AND, by conjuring up such ridiculous pictures, of "men worshipping money", EVERYONE in their congregation feels justified and relieved, for no one EVER sees themselves as guilty of THAT. AND, as usual, the simple and easily understood commands of Our Lord Jesus Christ are REPLACED by a bombastic rant about things that never really happen, and pompous denunciations of imaginary people that you will never meet.
Jesus says that no man can SERVE two masters: there is no discussion of 'worship' here. It is a matter of WHO or WHAT you WORK for: a matter of WHO or WHAT dictates what you do with your time. We are plainly told by Our Lord Jesus Christ that God is one master, and that FINANCIAL SECURITY is the other master, and that they are in direct competition with each other for your service. You must decide, YEA, YOU HAVE ALREADY DECIDED which you shall serve; and the life you are now living reflects the choice you have made. You will either hate GOD and love financial security; or you will hold to GOD and despise financial security.
But WHY should we despise financial security?
BECAUSE IT COMPETES WITH GOD to be the source of our hope, our confidence about the future, and our expectations for happiness.
Jesus said, Seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you: but the WORLD, the FLESH, the DEVIL, and Apostate Christendom say, "seek first financial security, and then you shall have both timeand money for the kingdom of God." Am I right, or what?
You dress a certain way to get a job: you get a job in order to get money: MONEY DECIDES HOW YOU WILL DRESS.
You go to school to learn a skill: you learn a skill to get a job: you get a job to get that money: MONEY DECIDES THAT YOU MUST GO TO SCHOOL, AND WHAT YOU WILL STUDY WHEN YOU GET THERE.
You tolerate, or even flatter, what you would otherwise denounce as false religion to avoid offending your family: and this of course, because you don't want to be thrown out of the house, lose their support, or be cut out of the will: MONEY DECIDES WHAT YOU WILL PREACH TO YOUR FAMILY.
You befriend a man because he has influential connections: his friendship may get you a job, or a promotion, or even a partnership: MONEY DECIDES WHO YOUR FRIENDS ARE.
You postpone getting married; thereby exposing yourself to prolonged temptation to sexual sin, because you are waiting to get enough MONEY: MONEY DECIDES IF YOU WILL MARRY, WHO YOU WILL MARRY, AND WHEN.
You work 80 hours per week to maintain a lifestyle: MONEY DECIDES HOW MUCH TIME YOU WILL SPEND WITH YOUR FAMILY.
Your wife works too, because you need the money: MONEY DECIDES THAT YOUR CHILDREN ARE BETTER OFF SPENDING THE DAY WITH SOMEONE OTHER THAN THEIR MOTHER.
ou postpone having children, or even consider abortion; because the cost of bearing and supporting children may take away from the ease or luxury of your lifestyle: MONEY DECIDES IF YOU WILL HAVE CHILDREN, AND WHEN.
You preach to the people who will give you a paycheck: MONEY DECIDES WHAT YOUR RELIGIOUS LOYALTIES AND YOUR DOCTRINES SHALL BE.
Money is, without a doubt, THE MASTER OF THE MILLIONS. Jesus said,
|Luke.12:29||... seek not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of a doubtful mind.|
|30||For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.|
|31||But RATHER seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.|
Let me ask you: Are you now free to seek and do the will of God, no matter WHAT it may be? Or do you require that "the will of God" always include a complete explanation for exactly where the money will come from and when it shall arrive? Do you quickly reject any idea that appears to be "financially irresponsible" as wrong and dangerous? IN SPITE of ALL your "religion", is your life inevitably governed by the need to know exactly how, when, and from where you will get the money? Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey? (Rom.6:16) And do not think, my Friend, that these are the "ivory tower observances" of one who already knows exactly how, when, and from where, God will meet his needs! I bear in my conscience the wounds from many long years, in which I secretly despised and angrily dismissed what Jesus said about money. Oh yes.....I managed to get the money, but my life was poisoned by bitterness, fear, and anger at God, as I trudged resentfully off to WORK FOR the meat which perisheth. I demanded of God that He prove Himself, by giving me the money first, or else I would simply have to "do what it takes" to get by; and then I would flatter myself with thoughts of how "mature and responsible" I was. My faithless submission to THE MASTER OF THE MILLIONS poisoned, to some degree, my whole life, and all of my faith. Since I couldn't believe what Jesus said about my MONEY, it was hard to believe anything else He said either. I argued with God about it: I tried to make deals with God; and sometimes I exploded with rage and accused God of lying and treachery; but I wouldn't take the risk of living as if The Word of God could be trusted in this matter: AFTER ALL, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE MONEY, HERE!!! But now, at the end of these years, while the shadows of my faithless past are still haunting me, I have run out of time, I have run out of excuses, and I have run out of options. I repent. The Lord is my shepherd, and therefore, I SHALL NOT WANT.
|Romans.12:2||...BE NOT CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.|
Now certainly, those who wish to be Christians can find the will of God in the commands of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and He said,
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